Accountability for Performance of Students with Disabilities

October 1998

TO: District Superintendents
Superintendents of Public School Districts
Principals of Public Schools
FROM: James A. Kadamus, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education

Lawrence C. Gloeckler, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities

SUBJECT: Accountability for Performance of Students with Disabilities

This memorandum provides the following information related to students with disabilities: participation in the State assessment program, reporting results on the school report card, and school/district accountability for performance. This information applies to all students for whom the district’s Committee on Special Education has formulated an Individualized Education Program (IEP). For these purposes, students with Section 504 Accommodation Plans are treated as general education students.

1998–99 SCHOOL YEAR

Participation in Assessment Program. Established policies regarding student participation in State tests will continue in 1998-99. All students with disabilities enrolled in grades in which elementary and middle-level State assessments are administered will participate fully in the assessment program unless specifically exempted by provision of the IEP. Students with disabilities in ungraded special education classes will participate in these State assessments based on their chronological age unless specifically exempted by provision of the IEP. All students, including students with disabilities, will participate in the secondary-level State assessment program when they have completed the prescribed coursework leading to a secondary-level State assessment.

School Report Card. The primary summary of school results on the fourth- and eighth-grade assessments will include the performance of all tested students, including students with disabilities. The performance of all students with disabilities enrolled in the school, regardless of the type of educational program and services they are receiving, will be aggregated with the performance of general education students and the combined results will be displayed. This practice, while representing a change from practice in reporting PEP results, is consistent with current reporting of Regents examination and high school graduation results. Consistent with current PEP reporting practice, the fifth-grade writing test performance of general education students will be reported separately from that of students with disabilities receiving supplemental services. On all school report card measures except attendance, dropout, and suspension rates the performance of students with disabilities will be displayed separately as well as aggregated with the performance of general education students.

The 2000 New York State District Report Card will include a report on the performance of all students with disabilities under the jurisdiction of the district’s Committee on Special Education. The report will display, for each State assessment administered, the following information:

School Accountability Program. The performance of all continuously enrolled students, both general education students and students with disabilities, will be included in the calculations used to determine whether a district is required to develop a Local Assistance Plan (LAP) for a school; to identify which schools are farthest from State standards (potential Schools Under Registration Review (SURR schools)); and, for schools receiving Title I funding, to determine which schools are making adequate yearly progress. The Department will notify superintendents about school performance standards for the new fourth- and eighth-grade assessments no later than December 1.

BEYOND THE 1998–99 SCHOOL YEAR

With approval of the Board of Regents, school district accountability standards will be established for the performance of students with disabilities. Standards will be established for performance on State assessments and the future State alternate assessment (see below), for the inclusion of students with disabilities in State assessments, and for the completion of graduation requirements. The performance of all continuously enrolled students with disabilities under the jurisdiction of the district’s Committee on Special Education will be included in all school district accountability calculations.

The June 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that, by July 2000, a State alternate assessment be made available for students with disabilities who cannot participate in State and local assessments. The Department is preparing a State alternate assessment for students with severe disabilities.

When the State alternate assessment becomes available, it is expected that virtually all students with disabilities will participate in the State assessment program by taking either the standard State assessments or the State alternate assessment. Only students with severe disabilities who are following a curriculum based on alternate performance indicators will be allowed to take the State alternate assessment. The performance of students taking the State alternate assessment will be reported at the district level.

If you have any questions about information presented above, please contact one of the offices listed below:

Information, Reporting & Technology Services (518) 474–7965

Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities

(518) 486–4678

Office of New York City School and Community Services

(718) 722–2796
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